Lesbian Scandal and the Culture of Modernism

Lesbian Scandal and the Culture of Modernism

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Before lesbianism became a specific identity category in the West, its mere suggestion functioned as a powerful source of scandal in early twentieth-century British and Anglo-American culture. Reconsidering notions of the 'invisible' or 'apparitional' lesbian, Jodie Medd argues that lesbianism's representational instability, and the scandals it generated, rendered it an influential force within modern politics, law, art and the literature of modernist writers like James Joyce, Ezra Pound and Virginia Woolf. Medd's analysis draws on legal proceedings and parliamentary debates as well as crises within modern literary production - patronage relations, literary obscenity and cultural authority - to reveal how lesbian suggestion forced modern political, cultural and literary institutions to negotiate their own identities, ideals and limits. Medd's text will be of great interest to scholars and graduate students in gender and women's studies, modernist literary studies and English literature.show more

Product details

  • Electronic book text
  • Cambridge University Press (Virtual Publishing)
  • Cambridge, United Kingdom
  • 113955848X
  • 9781139558488

Table of contents

Introduction: extraordinary allegations: lesbian suggestion and the culture of modernism; Part I. The Suggestion of Lesbianism and British National Culture: 1. The suggestion of lesbianism and the great war: 'the cult of the clitoris' scandal; 2. Lesbian ghost stories and post-war culture; Part II. The Suggestion of Lesbianism and Modernist Communities: 3. Modernist patronage, literary obscenity, and 'doing the lesbian business'; 4. Bloomsbury and the scandal of The Well of Loneliness; Conclusion; Notes.show more

Review quote

'This is a highly original and very engaging book about a fascinating aspect of modernism. It deserves a wide readership.' Petra Rau, Women: A Cultural Reviewshow more

About Jodie Medd

Jodie Medd is Associate Professor of English at Carleton University in Ottawa, Canada. Her work has appeared in GLQ, Modernism/Modernity and in edited collections on The Well of Loneliness, Sapphic modernity, lesbian and gay writing, and law and society.show more

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